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Red Rover, Red Rover

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Have you ever heard of a game called Red Rover? If you have then you probably know that it can be quite dangerous. It’s a very strategic game usually played by kids from the ages of five and ten, and the object of the game is to have every player from the opposing team end up on your side. All participants’ link arms and the leader or captain of either team will take turns calling over a member from the other team. The person who is called upon must pick any spot between two respective opponents and attempt to break their link created by their interlocked arms, by running through it. If the player succeeds in breaking the link he or she is allowed to go back to their side taking with them a player of that team. However, if the player fails to break the link, they must join their side. The game continues until either the majority of the people are on one side by the end of a specific time limit, or all members get stuck on one team. That team’s captain is declared the victor.

One day, little Victoria Ross was over, and the poor young girl didn't know what series of unfortunate events were in store for her. She was one of the last surviving members on her team, and her being the only girl left made her stand out as an easy target. The war chant echoed through the air as the young boy yelled it as loud as he could, “Red Rover, Red Rover, Victoria come over!” She dashed to the further side, choosing her destination wisely. She knew she was frail so she had no choice but to run between the two small girls on the far left end of the contrasting team.

Victoria went tumbling down with tremendous force. Despite her small, delicate stature, there was a booming thud that emitted from beneath her as she went crashing to the ground. All the other kids were pointing and laughing, for she had seemed to have tripped over a mysterious object sticking up out of the ground. Victoria began to cry out for her mommy who was obliviously chatting with the other children’s parents over by the picnic tables in the park. They had all gotten together for little Tommy’s birthday party and might have gotten a tad tipsy while associating with one another.

“Mommy, Mommy!” Victoria continued to shout, pleading for her mom’s attention. Her mother was too distracted by one boy’s single father, showing off his best flirting moves. She had been a single parent as well and figured she’d do whatever she could to portray herself as totally available. What mommy didn't realize though, was that she was about to lose her only daughter…

As soon as Victoria gave up on trying to grasp a hold of her elsewhere-minded mother’s gaze, she broke out in a dead sprint, escaping the embarrassment which the playground had now withheld. Once the public park was far from sight she slumped down next to a street lamp, gasping for the remaining breath she still had. She had never ran that fast before, and she’d never had so much rage than when her peers stared hysterically at her when she fell over the still unknown object. What was that mysterious item hidden under the soil? Whatever it was sure left a gaping hole in young Victoria’s scrawny, bleeding leg. The pain swelled inside her body, sending unbearable, burning waves to each and every corner of her fragile organ system. She didn't know what else to do besides scream in horror. The sight was horrendous.

Suddenly, the wound began to heal involuntarily. A blue, liquid substance covered itself over the shrinking gap, sealing the diameter of the cut. She couldn't believe her eyes. The once-torn skin was disappearing in thin air and was immediately being replaced with freshly created skin cells. When the incision was completely gone Victoria studied the area on her leg in which it had been on. She was simply awestricken with what she had just witnessed, until a dark, red mark appeared where the tear was located. It was the size of her palm, and it took the very distinct shape of a hook…

It was getting dark outside, so Victoria decided to gather what was left of her sanity and begin walking. She didn't know exactly where she was going, but she sure didn't want to stay the night on the streets. She followed the path back to the park, hoping that perhaps her mom might still be there. When she arrived, she sensed a peculiar essence floating about her surroundings. Something seemed out of place. She crunched over the fallen leaves, making her way towards the picnic tables. Her mom wasn't there, but parked in the closest space available, was their minivan. Victoria rushed to the vehicle, tiptoeing to see if anyone or anything was inside. Nothing. She ventured off to where she had been playing the dreadful game earlier that day, and began investigating, looking for the object that was sticking out of the ground. It was nowhere to be found. She searched all over the park before she realized it was gone. Soon enough, Victoria waved the white flag of surrender and slouched herself down onto the cold, loose rocks of the soulless playground.

Not but ten seconds later, a blinding red light appeared in the air, blocking sight of the full moon. Victoria shielded her eyes as she struggled to her feet. The beckoning light seemed to sear into her skin, and once she stood at maximum height, it began...

There was a loud, continuous roar emanating from the glaring ruby light beam. One by one, figures began forming within the shining glow, casting dancing shadows across the whole playground. At first they were indiscernible, but soon enough Victoria labeled them as pirates. They became quite detailed and you could see intricate features such as beards and eye patches on the faces of some of them. They came in an array of different shapes and sizes. Although there was one thing that caught Victoria’s attention: The pirate in the very middle was missing a hand, and where the hang should have been, was a large, curved hook. She paused for moment, remembering that she had that same hook engraved in red on her leg.

“What’s going on,” Victoria shouted as bravely as she could, “Where is my mom?”

His beard was the longest out of all of them and his teeth were rotten to the core. “Don’t you worry young mate,” boomed the treacherous sea thief, “We’re going to have a little fun.”

The mystical pirate snickered and returned to his place in line. His companions began to arrange themselves evenly, distributing half on his own side, while the others took their places next to Victoria. She soon came to the conclusion that they were playing a game of Red Rover. Her hypothesis was confirmed when the captain yelled out, “Red Rover, Red Rover, Victoria come over!”

She started to feel weary and thought there would be no way she could break the links of these ferocious sailors. She was right again. When Victoria reached the other side, she became entangled in the mustiness of the laughing pirates. They bickered, taunting Victoria with snotty insults. The laughter from the kids earlier that day began to echo throughout her mind. She linked arms with her new teammates, and began to sob. What had she done to deserve this horrible fate? All she did was play a harmless game of Red Rover. That’s when the captain of her former team called out, “Red Rover, Red Rover, Victoria come over!”

She looked up, her face covered in tears. When she began the long run to the opposing team, she felt an excruciating pain shoot up her spine. She crumbled to the earth and lay there, pleading for mercy.

“There is no crying in this game,” mocked the captain with the hook as a hand, “You have to play until the game is over!” He pulled out a long, rigid sword and pointed it straight at the hopeless Victoria. “Or else,” he added, “You shall walk the plank.”

That’s when she realized she was no longer at the park. She wasn't anywhere she had recognized. The sound of a canon carried off in the distance. She was on a pirate ship, and not just any ordinary pirate ship. She was aboard the “Big Red” as it was called. It was an infamous trademark in the world of looting.

“Pick yourself up now you worthless scrub,” the captain ordered.

At that moment Victoria knew that there was no escape. She was stuck playing this game until she was the victor. Whether it took a matter of hours or years, the intruders weren't going to leave without the satisfaction of a completed game.

Needless to say, Victoria is no longer with us. She now roams as a ghost, forced to play that dreadful game for the rest of eternity. There is no option of winning the game anymore. She is stranded, with no choice but to continue to run up and down the deck of the ship, while the pirates watch with pure enjoyment. Take this as a warning my dear children. The next time your buddies get together for a game of Red Rover, keep a lookout for any strange objects that may stick up out of the ground. You wouldn't want the chant to echo endlessly in your head now would you? Consuming your thoughts, tearing away any remaining shreds of hope. Red Rover, Red Rover, send Victoria over…

Be careful my friends…

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